The 15th of the month has become a major marker for cinephiles as it means the next announcement for what The Criterion Collection has up their sleeve, and their February announcement is nowhere near a disappointment. The five titles announced yesturday afternoon provide a varied selection that offers a little bit of something for everyone. Fans of American classics, documentaries, Japanese New Wave, contemporary world cinema, and stellar Blu-Ray upgrades will all be satisfied.
Coming February 5th is the second appearance in the collection by Keisuke Kinoshita (“Twenty-Four Eyes”), with a DVD and Blu-Ray release of “The Battle of Narayama.” The film revolves around Orin who, in preparation for her villages tradition of being carried to a mountain and left to die at the age of seventy, attempts to secure happiness for her recently widowed son. The disc is barebones in terms of extras-only offering a trailer, teaser and an essay by Phillip Kent, but the film’s lack of accessibility until now makes it ripe for rediscovery.
After having two of their films enter the Collection last August, the Dardenne Brothers return once again their most recent effort “The Kid with a Bike.” The lovely film centers around a young boy living in a group home, desperately trying to make contact with his father. He instead finds a home with a stranger who tentatively agrees to take care of him. The DVD and Blu-Ray release offers a conversation between the Dardenne’s and critic Kent Jones, an interview with leads Cecile de France and Thomas Doret, a half hour documentary on the films locations, a trailer, and an essay by critic Geoff Andrew.
Arguably the pièce de résistance of the month is the long awaited and much hinted release of Elia Kazan’s Oscar winning “On the Waterfront,” which arrives February 19th. The Brando classic is being released with a two-disc Blu-Ray (with a new 4K digital restoration) and a three-disc DVD (with two alternate restorations of the film in different aspect ratios). Both editions include a number of supplements, including three documentaries, new interviews, a conversation between critic Kent Jones and Martin Scorsese, and a commentary by authors Richard Schickel and Jeff Young.
February 26th brings the months final two films, starting with Jean Rouch’s documentary “Chronicle of a Summer,” a cinema verite look at a group of residents in France being interviewed in the summer of 1960. Supplements for this Blu-Ray and DVD release include archived interviews with Rouch and Marceline Loridan (one of the films subjects), and the 73–minute “Un ete + 50,” a 2011 documentary featuring outtakes and new interviews. Rounding out the month is a Blu-Ray upgrade for Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Sansho the Baliff,” which does not expand on the current DVD editions supplements-which include a commentary by Japanese literature professor Jeffrey Angles and interviews-but will no doubt include a beautiful new high def transfer.
More information on these films as well as the other nearly 650 films in the Collection can be found on Criterions official website.